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Frequently Asked Questions
As you shop, here’s what to consider:
Firmness: This describes the pillow’s feel on a soft-to-firm scale, which is largely personal.
Loft: This refers to the compressed height of the pillow when your head is on it. Pillows are typically offered in low, medium, and high lofts.
Preferred sleeping position: Look for higher lofts if you’re a side sleeper, and lower lofts for back and side positions.
Specific conditions: Some pillows are designed to accommodate concerns like snoring, allergies, pregnancy, migraine, or overheating. Check out Healthline’s recommendations if you need a pillow for a certain sleep goal.
Side sleepers need a firmer fill to properly support their head, plus a high enough loft to keep the head, neck, and spine in alignment without undue pressure on the shoulder.
Back sleepers need a medium-firm pillow with a low or medium loft for proper alignment.
Stomach sleepers need a softer fill with a low loft.
It’s always best to check the manufacturer’s tag for specifics. In general, feather pillows can be machine washed and tumbled dry on low. Foam pillows should be spot cleaned, but many have removable covers that can go right in the washing machine.
A good rule of thumb is to replace your pillow every 1 to 2 years. They become soiled over time, even if you use a pillowcase, and they’ll often start losing shape. If your pillow is no longer comfortable, or you’re starting to notice new aches and pains, it’s time for an upgrade.
Standard pillows measure 20 inches by 20 inches. King pillows are 20 inches by 36 inches. However, the dimensions of some brands may vary, so it’s always a good idea to double-check.